Battlefield 2 : Modern Combat

Article

posted 10/25/2005 by The GN Staff
other articles by The GN Staff
Multiple Pages Platforms: Multiple

Despite the bugs John and I were big fans of Battlefield 2 from Electronic Arts so when we got the chance to talk about the port of the game to the console we jumped at the chance.  We were lucky enough to talk to Marcus Nilsson, the Executive Producer of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat about what we can expect from the console version of one of our favorite games.

GamingNexus: Are the classes the same as the ones in Battlefield 2 or did you have to tweak them for the console version?  How is the character persistence (points) compared to Battlefield 2 on the PC? Will it be the same in terms of point scale and unlocking extras at certain levels?  Is there still only one unlock per class?
Marcus Nilsson: The classes are the same in principle but we did balance them differently and give them a few new weapons for console. You will not unlock upgrades like you do on PC, but you will rise in rank from Private to General, and achieve medals along the way for your accomplishments.

GamingNexus: What are the major differences between the Xbox and PlayStation 2 version?  How did you have to modify the controls for a console audience?  How did this impact the controls for the vehicles?
Marcus Nilsson: Actually, both consoles have the same content and gameplay. We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to get 24 players on both platforms, in addition to over a dozen vehicles, and on huge maps. We made the game a little more accessible than it is on PC, and this meant tweaking the controls a little in most cases. We did some drastic things like adding a beginner control setting for helicopters, so people have that option. However, because this was built from the ground up for console, we always focused on making the controls perfect for the system the game is on.

GamingNexus: Are there any plans to release new content for the game after it’s launched such as maps, vehicles or weapons?
Marcus Nilsson:
We are working on downloadable content right now, and we’ll be announcing more details about this soon.

GamingNexus: Will you be able to use the keyboard and mouse on the PlayStation 2 like Unreal Tournament on that platform?
Marcus Nilsson: No, we will not support the keyboard and mouse, but after you play a match and see how the game was specifically designed with a controller in mind, I don’t think you’ll miss this.

GamingNexus: The Battlefield series is not known for having a strong single player experience nor having any story driven elements. What have you done for Modern Combat to deliver a good single player experience? Has the AI been improved as the AI in the franchise has never been a strong point on the PC side?
Marcus Nilsson: Hotswapping is a key new feature, and it gives you control of any soldier in your squad as long as you have line of sight. The campaign forces you to fight on both sides of the war, and you are constantly receiving conflicting news reports and mission objectives. There are 20 missions to complete, and then you must decide which army you believe and lead that army to victory.



GamingNexus: How are you going to combat cheating on both platforms?
Marcus Nilsson:
We take the online play very seriously, and use the online demo and beta tests to identify areas where cheating can occur. We then fix those areas. Also, in the game the team has the option to kick a player if they get enough votes, so the community can also regulate itself in this regard.

GamingNexus: Battlefield 2 has been pretty beat up for the bugs that are in the game. With the delay from the 2004 release, talk about how you confident you are in releasing a relatively bug free and balanced experience and how the extended time has helped.
Marcus Nilsson:
Our target from the very beginning was to release a game with zero bugs in it. We are happy to report that we reached this goal on both platforms. Will there be something that we missed? Perhaps. However, we have been working on this game for almost three years now, so we’ve had a lot of time to deliver clean and balanced code.

GamingNexus: Are there any thoughts about a next gen (Xbox 360, PS3) version of the game?
Marcus Nilsson:
We have an Xbox 360 version in development now, and we’ll be releasing more details on this very soon. We’re going to be doing some new things with the Battlefield franchise, but of course staying true to its roots.

GamingNexus: Given how popular Battlefield 2 is are you expecting people to migrate over from the PC version or is this game more aimed at bringing new people to the franchise?
Marcus Nilsson:
It’s a little bit of both, actually. We know we have PC fans who are going to pick this up to experience hotswapping and the deep single player campaign. They also will want to try out the 13 completely new maps, as well as the new vehicles and weapons. However, this is also the most accessible version of Battlefield, so it will attract new people who either don’t play on PC, or want a deep offline experience.

GamingNexus: The demo for the game quickly became one of the most popular games on Xbox Live (according to the stats posted semi-weekly by Major Nelson), did this catch you by surprise at all?  Did you get a lot of feedback from the demo and were you able to incorporate any of it into the final game? 
Marcus Nilsson:
We expected the demo to be popular, but we were surprised by how popular it was right off the bat. At one point we were the #4 Xbox Live game in the world, and the demo was only available in the US at the time. We’re still in the top 10 almost 4 months after it released. So again, we’re very pleased and it just goes to show how addictive the multiplayer is. We were able to implement some of the feedback we received in the early stages, but we actually didn’t get too much. We received a lot more feedback from out online Beta test early in the year, and that let us make some very good adjustments to the gameplay.